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‘When Baseball Went to War’ conference, exhibition comes to bat in New Orleans

The National World War II Museum teams up Hall of Fame players and historians this November

NEW ORLEANS (July 26, 2007) – Beginning November 9, The National World War II Museum in New Orleans will premier a conference and exhibition examining the significance of America’s national pastime during the Second World War – Duty, Honor, Country: When Baseball Went to War, presented by Humana. Notable Major Leaguers will discuss their personal experiences from the World War II era.

Conference sessions will commence on Friday, November 9, 2007 followed by an evening reception and exhibit opening. Tommy Lasorda, the longtime Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, will be the featured speaker at a dinner on the evening of November 10. Lasorda is renowned as a great story teller and known for his colorful personality and outspoken opinions. The conference will continue through Sunday afternoon on November 11.

World War II Veterans and famed Major Leaguers including Bob Feller, Dom DiMaggio, Morrie Martin, Johnny Pesky, Jerry Coleman, Lou Brissie and others will join with baseball historians and authors for panel discussions and presentations about the importance of our national pastime to a nation at war. Program sessions include such topics as “Baseball on the Battlefront,” “Baseball the Morale Builder,” and “From One Battlefield to Another: World War II, Baseball and Civil Rights,” to name a few. Other invited guests include Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon; Roberto Clemente’s widow, Vera and Delores ‘Dolly” Brumfield White of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

“Humana is proud to celebrate this remarkable era of Baseball history with the World War II veterans who played the game and those on the home front who were sustained by it,” said George Renaudin, South Region President for Humana’s Senior Products. “It’s a way for us to say ‘thank you’ to that generation for the sacrifices they made for us and the future generations.”

The conference and exhibition honor a time when baseball was more than a game

The 1941 baseball season reached a zenith with Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams batting .400. The Yankees faced their cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, winning the World Series months after their hero, Lou Gehrig, passed away. Weeks later, the attack on Pearl
Harbor forced America to focus on what was truly essential to the war effort and what could be put
aside until the war’s conclusion. Major League Commissioner, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis,
wrote to President Roosevelt asking him what he would like the league to do with the upcoming 1942 season.

All doubt was removed when President Roosevelt answered the question in what became known as the “Green Light Letter.” Roosevelt wrote to Landis, “I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.”

Yogi Berra, Ted Williams and many others left lucrative careers on the baseball diamond to fight for freedom. Despite the enlistment of able-bodied, of-age players, older players were able to keep the game going during the war years. More night games were added to teams’ schedules and proceeds from exhibition games, including the All Star game, were put towards the war effort. Those players that enlisted would often be put on their respective branch of service’s baseball team and tour military bases to play games and to boost the spirits of their fellow soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors. General Eisenhower, knowing how important the game was to his men, saw to it that games being played back home were broadcast overseas.

The National World War II Museum is working closely with The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to honor the game and the players in both the exhibition and with the conference. Conference participants will meet major league and minor league players from the World War II era. A “Players Clinic for Kids” featuring players and college coaches will take place on Saturday, November 10. Commemorative merchandise and books will be on sale throughout the weekend in the Museum Store and Memorabilia Marketplace. Presenters will autograph books, baseballs and more following each panel and presentation. The conference will conclude with a special remembrance and program in honor of Veterans Day, November 11.

The baseball exhibition will remain on view through March 31, 2008. It will feature rarely seen artifacts, memorabilia and photographs on loan from The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, from private collectors, and from the collection of The National World War II Museum.

Conference tickets are $150 for non-Museum members and $125 for members, and include Museum admission, all conference sessions, the opening reception, and lunch and dinner on Saturday. Individual tickets to the Saturday dinner are $75.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has been designated by Congress as America’s official Museum of the Second World War. It interprets the American Experience during theWorld War II years; celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won World War II and promotes the exploration and expression of these values by future generations.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the conference, visit www.nationalww2museum.org or call toll free 1-877-813-3329 x 257.
 

 

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